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Nigerian Blockchain Startup SureRemit Raises $7 Million in Biggest African ICO To Date

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Sureremit ICO

SureRemit, a Nigerian blockchain startup, has raised $7 million during its token sale held from December 8th to February 8, 2018, to develop its non-cash remittance platform.

A Succesful African ICO

SureRemit, which is majority owned by GreenHouse Capital, a Nigeria-based fintech holding company, utilises blockchain technology to allow diaspora Africans to make non-cash remittances to their families back home.

This is facilitated by the Remit token (RMT), a utility token designed on the Stellar Network. RMT tokens are used within the SureRemit platform and can be transferred between users. The tokens can be supported by wallets and traded on exchanges that already host Stellar lumens.

The Remit tokens were floated to early investors during the Pre-ICO at the start of the year. Pre-sale investors benefited from a 40 percent discount on RMT tokens which are presently retailing at 50 RMT for $1.  According to SureRemit Director, Samuel Biyi, participants in the ICO can expect the platform to use the funds raised to ramp up its operations by adding more merchants to its network. The company also plans to grow its team and bring in experienced professionals who can build and manage merchant relationships.

In an interview with E-Labz, Samuel Biyi acknowledged they have been attempts in the past to create non-cash services for different use cases but SureRemit has now applied the concept to the remittance sector. He states:

“We are looking to be the first coordinated effort into creating the product that is specific to that use case (non-cash remittance) not just you know becoming a hybrid of something else so we are aggregating local, physical merchants as well as utilities and channels [….] so I think we are the first major effort at running a global non-cash remittance platform.”

RMT tokens will be used within the SureRemit ecosystem to access vouchers and pay bills. Users will be able to create an order for a voucher to be delivered to the recipient via SMS or email, by selecting a country and the right merchant category and paying for the process using their Remit tokens. Upon receipt of the order, the token will be frozen until the voucher is sent from the SureRemit system. Once that occurs, the token is transferred to SureRemit.

Diaspora users can purchase instant shopping vouchers and pay utility bills for friends and relatives across Africa. For seamless remittances, the company relies on its merchant network in Nigeria, Rwanda, and Kenya, together with international partners to send e-vouchers that can be redeemed for goods and services at any of the affiliate merchants.

Attracting Top Investors

A number of prominent cryptocurrency investors participated in the funding round including Hashed, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency fund. Hashed’s decision to back SureRemit’s pre-ICO token sale signals a growing interest for corporate investors in the potential of blockchain technology to solve remittance challenges in emerging markets where the large swathes of the populace remain disconnected from financial services. The fund has previously supported blockchain-based projects like Ethereum, Simple Token, and Airswap.

Kelechi Nwokocha, a member of the GreenHouse investment team, mentioned in a New Telegraph Online article,

“The implications of growth capital outside of equity financing is huge. It means SureRemit can scale its operations without additional capital from existing shareholders. SureRemit is just one of our 10 fintech enabled portfolio companies that can potentially leverage blockchain to address a specific market gap, particularly in Africa. We’re happy to take the lead on blockchain and cryptocurrency implementations on the continent.”

SureRemit aims to in the future integrate RMT tokens acceptance directly to the network’s partners, which in turn they can convert to fiat money and thus enabling token transfers to happen directly to the merchant’s balance.

The SureRemit ICO has been the most successful token sale in Africa to date and will likely encourage more offerings of this kind on the continent this year.

Blockchain Technology

Blockchain Technology Key to Fighting Corruption in Ghana

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Corruption in Ghana

NikGroup, a consulting firm based in Ghana, wants to push for the adoption of the blockchain for social change as the government struggles to fight corruption in Ghana. 

Corruption in Ghana

Corruption The government of Ghana has a strong anti-corruption legal framework in place but faces challenges of enforcement. Corruption is illegal and both agent and principal are liable while the nationality of the offenders is irrelevant.

However, according to the CEO of NikGroup, Nick Owusu, due to ineffective mechanisms and systems, it is often difficult to trace and punish the offenders. This he blames on logistical and administrative challenges.

“Ghana has had to contend with the loss of state funds through the manipulation of documents, payroll fraud, fraudulent licensing, illegal transactions, abuse of contracts and office among others,” Owusu stated.

Owuso’s NikGroup is attempting to reverse this trend with the use of blockchain technology. According to Owusu, introducing a system to control these irregularities is a good move and that the blockchain revolution makes it difficult to manipulate data.

The Blockchain Technology Summit

The NikGroup will hold a Blockchain Summit with the theme “The Impact of Blockchain on Businesses for National Development”. It is to take place on October 25, 2018, at 9:00 am at the Marriot in Accra. Owusu, also a motivational speaker, is expected to talk about how the blockchain can be used to fight corruption in Ghana.

Experts from industry and academia, policymakers in the public and private sectors, as well as key players in Ghana’s financial sector will speak of the blockchain and how to adapt and explore this new technology to transform Ghana’s economy.

NikGroup wants the summit to bring sanity into the system. It also wants to help bridge the financial gap between Ghana and the developed world as Ghana embraces this technology.

Topics at the summit include introducing the blockchain, its uses and applications, Bitcoin and its history, present and future, alternative coin offerings, basics to cryptocurrency trading, and emerging opportunities in the blockchain space for Africa.

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Blockchain Technology

eCampus Integrates Blockchain Technology in Its Latest Update

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eCampus

The eCampus app has integrated blockchain technology in order to allow students across Ghana to ascertain how prepared they are before taking an examination.

This latest update is designed to honour the memory of the past United Nation Secretary Kofi Annan and his positive involvement in the educational sector.

What is eCampus

The eCampus app is an education-focused mobile app, making use of blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to help students learn and prepare for upcoming exams. This is done using a rewarding, fun and responsive interface.

The lasted updates to the 3.0 version of the app include:

  • Blockchain Integration
  • Test Prep
  • Course Suggestions
  • Lab

Blockchain Integration

blockchainAccording to a blog post by eCampus, the blockchain Integration on the app makes it possible for app user to gain points from the general usage and interaction on the app. These points are expected to be exchangeable for service or products offered on the app.

Furthermore, certification can be generated using the points received on the app. The certificate is usually in form of a digital badge. This badge, in turn, can be used to secure employment outside the app.

Test Prep

The app makes it possible for a student to prepare for various national exams by letting them know how well prepared they are to take on such an exam. This is made possible using the test prep feature on the app. All that is required by the student is to select the type of test that intend to take and the app provides them with a test matching the examination.

Course Suggestion

For a student struggling with the choice of courses to undertake. The latest version of eCampus also possesses AI features, making it possible for it to suggest courses which are relevant to the students based on the profile of such student.

Labs (Beta)

This feature incorporates the use of virtual reality technology to help students explore numerous laboratory tests connected to their field of study.

eCampus version 3.0 is available on Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Windows App Store.

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Blockchain Technology

Block Commodities and Pure Grow Africa to Launch First Crypto Project for Ugandan Farmers

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crypto project for Ugandan farmers

Block Commodities, a commodity trader operating in Africa, has announced a partnership with Uganda-based Pure Grow Africa to launch the first crypto project for Ugandan farmers. 

The Pilot Ecosystem

Block Commodities Limited, a London NEX exchange-listed company whose objective is maximising value through the blockchain ecosystem, has announced a partnership with Pure Grow Africa Limited (Pure Grow), a leading supplier of high-quality agricultural products based in Uganda. Block Commodities and Pure Grow are working together to bring the first pilot of a food project commodity cycle ecosystem.  

UnbankedPure Grow Africa, started in 2015 and focuses on promoting communities to sustainable agri-business and agro-value chain development. It supports farms in Africa by embracing modern technologies and applications to promote economic growth as well as creating community awareness and shared values. Farmers who are with the company strive to keep to the highest standards of food safety, environmental and sustainable policies. To start, Pure Grow will introduce 1,000 farmers and buyers to the Pilot Ecosystem.

Block Commodities will implement and support the ecosystem by providing finance and fertiliser products, as well as supplying the technology.

It will also coordinate loans in cryptocurrency – in the form of Dala tokens – for the already selected team of farmers, according to a company press release. This loan will provide the farmers with cash to purchase fertilisers cheaply and with better repayment plans, which will then enable the farmers to increase the production as well as to scale up and become commercial.

The Food and Agribusiness

Pure Grow’s Director Bobby Juuko Kimbugwe, said: “We are placing smallholder farmers at the centre of our work; they are at the core of what we do. We want them to understand that they do not need to have money in their hands to be able to grow production. Block Commodities is the ideal partner to support growth in African farming.”

Chris Cleverly, Executive Chairman at Block Commodities added that he was delighted about the partnership and hopes to support small-scale farmers and advance the ecosystem.

According to the African Development Bank, the food and agribusiness market is estimated to reach a value of one trillion dollars by 2030. Therefore, highlighting the great opportunity for African agriculture to become a leading player in this market. 

If the pilot phase succeeds, Block Commodities and Pure Grow will introduce the scheme to 50,000 more Pure Grow farmers. Further plans for the project are to expand and cover other countries in sub-Saharan Africa in due time.

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